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Showing posts with label Travel Focus. Show all posts


With a huge choice of destinations, Malaysia is a great place for a trekking vacation. Most trekking activity is based around national parks and forest reserves, which include rain, mangrove and mountain forests. Each has different characteristics, but all offer a large variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species. You can go trekking independently, but it is safest to hire a professional guide or join an escorted tour. Choose informastion you need in Malaysia below.

StateKnown asCapitals
PerlisLand of Rustic BeautyKangar
KedahLand With a Rich HeritageAlor Setar
PenangThe Pearl of the OrientGeorgetown
PerakThe Land of GraceIpoh
SelangorThe Heartland of the NationShah Alam
Negeri SembilanLand of Minangkabau TaditionSeremban
MalaccaWhere It All BeganMelaka
JohorThe Southern GatewayJohor Bahru
PahangWhere Adventure BeckonsKuantan
TerengganuLand of Long Sandy Beaches and TurtlesKuala Terengganu
KelantanThe Cultural CapitalKopta Bharu
SabahThe Land Below the WindKota KInabalu
SarawakThe Hidden Paradise of BorneoKuching
Federal TerritoryThe Garden City of LightKuala Lumpur
Labuan (Federal Territory)Malaysia's Pearl of the South China SeaLabuan

Jungle Tracking (Sabah State)

1. Kinabalu Park

Less than 2 hours’ drive from Kota Kinabalu, a drive to the Park passes through lush verdant countryside where you will be amazed to find buttercups, rhododendrons, a wide array of exotic orchids, pitcher plants, to name a few. A bus service runs twice daily from Kota Kinabalu, in addition 40 4-wheel drive vehicles. Coaches, small aircraft and helicopters available for charter. Located at 1,558 metre above sea level, Sabah’s oldest park was gazetted in 1964 and covers 754 sq. km. Including Mt. Kinabalu, Mt. Tambayukon to the north and their foothills. Of the most complex ecological system compacted in one small area. In fact, much of the world-renowned eco-treasures of Sabah can be found at Kinabalu Park, where you will find vegetation ranges from cloud forest to mountain forest to lowland forest. 

The majestic mountain, has a fascinating geological history. It began approximately a million years ago when the granite core lying beneath the earth’s crust was solidifying. This granite massif was later thrust upwards through the crust to the surface. Subsuquent erosian removed thousands of feet of the overlying sand and mud stone exposing this massif. During the Ice Age, glaciers running through the summit plateau, smoothed it out but the jagged peaks that stood out above the ice surface, remained unaffected by these ‘cosmetic’ touches and retained their extremely ragged surfaces. This rugged mountain, 4, 101 metres above sea level, and still imperceptibly rising, is the focal point of the National Park. The park is a favourite getaway whether for day trips or week-long stays to explore the rare and endless eco-treasures found within. For overnight accommodation, make your reservations and payment at Kinabalu Nature Resort office in Kota Kinabalu. Privately operated room and board facilities are also available within easy distance of the Park.

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2. Flora & fauna

The park is known for the abundance and diversity of its plant life, within one of the most ancient vegetations in the world. There are over 1,200 species of wild orchids and 40 varieties of oak in its forests, not to mention the countless varieties of rhododendrons with blooms ranging in hue from deep red to pale pink and white! Masses of moss and ferns weigh down the trees of the Montane oak forests of the upper regions. Flowers are to be seen everywhere on the trees, in the shrubs, along the banks on the forest floor and even peeping out of the rocky crevices of the summit. Orchids such as the white necklace orchids are as delicately beautiful as their namesake.

The Bornean mountain ground squirrel Dremomys eve are often spotted scampering about in the scrub vegetation while the mountain tree shrew Tupaia montana are easily spotted along the mountain trails. You may even come across a red-necked keelback snake sunning itself along your path. The variety of birds range from mountain black eye, mountain black bird, Borneo eye bright, Euphrasia borneensis, and the now ‘not-so-friendly’ nor so easily sighted Friendly Kinabalu Warbler. Grab your own Kinabalu National Park guided bird for more watching bird experience HERE

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3. Facilities

The Park Headquarters at 1,524 metres above sea level, has a range of accommodation facilities, restaurants and an exhibit centre.

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4. Accommodation (At Kinabalu Park)

-The Park charges different rates for accommodation on weekdays and weekends.

-Nepenthes Villa (2 bedrooms/ 4 persons) – 1 unit
-Rajah Lodge (5 bedroom/ 10 person)- 1 unit
-Kinabalu Lodge (4 bedroom/ 8 person) – 1 unit
-Double Storey/ Deluxe Cabin (3 bedroom/ 7 persons) – 1 unit
-Single Deluxe/ Cabin (2 bedrooms/ 5 persons) – 1 unit
-Duplex 2-Bedroom/ Chalet (6 persons in each) – 4 units
-Two-roomed/ Annex Suite (4 persons in each) – 4 units
-Twin Bed Cabin (2 persons in each) – 10 units
-New Fellowship/ Hostel (52 persons in dormitory room)
-Old Fellowship/ Hostel (46 persons in dormitory room)

The above cabins are provided with a fireplace, kitchen, shower, gas cooker and a refrigerator and cooking and eating utensils. Visitors intending to cook must bring their own food. Simple meals (both western and local) are available at the clubhouse and canteen in the Administration building. Electricity, piped water and firewood are all provided free of charge. All accommodation fees are subject to 5% Government Tax (prices are subject to change).

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5. Poring Hot Spring

Located 39 km. Away from Kinabalu Park is the poring Hot Springs, where you can soak in the skin-curative properties of a hot sulphur bath, trek the various trails through rich lowland forest, mountain streams and waterfalls or do some bird-watching and the colourful profusion of wild flowers. If you’re lucky, you might even catch sight of a Refflesia, the world’s largest flower! The hot spring, first developed by the Japanese during World War II, now feature several open-air Japanese-style baths. Take a dip to rest your tired feet and aching muscles. The water contains sulphur, known for its curative properties for curing skin problems. Avoid que and miss activities. Booking your Package to Poring Hot Spring HERE

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6. Accommodations: Poring Chalet (6 persons perunit) - 2 units

-Old Cabin (3 bedroom – 6 persons)
-New Cabin (2 bedroom – 4 person)
-Youth Hostel (2 blocks with a capacity of 24 and 40 person in each block)
-Camp ground (30 person)
-Tents, blankets and pillows can be rented
-There are facilities such as restaurant to catter for visitors intending to stay
  overnight  at Poring Hot Springs.

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7. Mount Kinabalu

The state Capital, Kota Kinabalu, was specially named in reverence to Mount Kinabalu, the highest challenge in Borneo. Rising majestically at 4,095.2 m. or 13,432.26 ft., Mount Kinabalu has a mystique so inspiring, it’s magical. With its granite peak often shrouded in mists and clouds, it never fails to lure travellers all the way to the top. Conquering Mt. Kinabalu does not require mountain-climbing skills, just basic fitness. It takes a minimum of 2 days to climb the 14.5 km. trail to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. It gives you the chance to look around and absorb the sights and sounds of your surroundings. See the clear mountain streams, observe the subtle changes in vegetation as your trail leads you first through the montane oak, rhododendron and conifer forests, to the mossy cloud forest zone with its gnarled twisted trees covered in moss and epiphytic orchids and ferns; and finally to the alpine meadow vegetation of the scrub-like summit regions. You may chance upon the maiden’s veil fungus Dictyophora, the delicate plant with the foul-smelling mucous on the outer surface of its cap. Insects feeding on this mucous unsuspectingly transport the spores that inevitably get stuck to their feet.

The park organises complimentary visitor programmes for first-times to the park. This include slide/ film shows and guided trails walks conducted by park naturalists. Take advantage to these to gain some informative and educational insights on the parks’s flora and fauna.

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8. Arrangements for climbing

-Make sure you have good shoes. Tennis or gym shoes are fine.
-Bring enough warm clothing. The temperature can fall to below freezing point at night.
-Pack  all clothes in plastic bags to keep them dry in case of rain. Sleeping bags are
 provided at the mountain huts.
-Bring something wind and water-proof, gloves and a hat.
-Bring a waterbottle with you
-Bring some high-energy foods for climb (e.g. chocolate, nuts, raising. Glucose sweets are
-Bring a good torchlight.
-Headache tablets, paper tissues, a couple of plastic bags and some plasters for cuts or blisters are all useful.

There are overnight accommodation and rest houses, with climbers leaving before dawn to catch the magnificent sunrise at the peak. Park regulations require the climb to be done with a registered guide, so make reservations for your mountain guide and porter through the Park’s Head Office in Kota Kinabalu. A minimal fee that goes towards the conservation and maintenance of the Park, is charged at the Registration Office of Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Transportation arrangements can be made individually or through tour operators, while accommodation can be arranged through the Kinabalu Nature Resort. Reservations cannot be made at the Park headquarters. Accommodations are usually fully booked during the peak climbing season, so do confirm your reservations before arrival.

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9. Accommodation: 

The park also provides lodging facilities for climbers. These facilities are situated on the mountain at two altitudes; 11,000 ft and 12,500 ft. They serve as overnight rest areas prior to the ascent to the summit.

Rest House/ Mountain Huts At 11,000 feet.

-Laban Rata Rest House – 3322 metre ( 1 rest house –10 bunks). Canteen and shower
 facilities provided
-Gunting Lagadan hut – 3353 metre ( 1 hut – 12 bunks)
-Panar Laban hut – 3353 metre ( 1 hut –12 bunks)
-Waras Hut – 3292 metre ( 1 hut – 12 bunks)
-Mountain Huts 12,500 feet
-Sayat-Sayat hut –8810 metre ( 1 hut – 18 bunks)
-The mountain huts provide wooden bunks with mattresses, gas cylinders, cooking utensils
  and a limited supply of eating utensils, climbers must bring their own food for cooking

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10. Waterfalls

The waterfalls that are describeb here are the Kiansom Waterfall, Langganan Waterfall, Madai Waterfalls, Maliau Waterfall, Mawah Waterfall and the Purun Waterfall. The nearest waterfall withing reach from Kota Kinabalu is the Kiansom Waterfall. Well known as the spot for weekend family recreation, this waterfall is about 60 feet in height with several spots to swim in along the lower parts of the fall. Driving to ranau on the way to Mount kinabalu you will see another waterfall in the far distance. This is Kedamaian Waterfall but is not easily accessible and it takes a minimum 2 days to reach its base. At the Poring Hot Springs, however, a semilar waterfall to that of the Kedamaian Waterfall can be reached within 2 hours of walking. The Langganan Waterfall stands at least 600ft in height and can be seen on the route to Poring Hot Springs from the Poring Village. If you would like to trek and visit the Laganan Waterfall, you will need to report your intentions to the Park warden and it is best to have an accompanying guide.

Maliau Basin Waterfall

Madai Waterfall

Kiansom Waterfall

Langganan Waterfall

There are a few waterfalls in the Telupid and other remote areas. On your way to Lahad Datu, there is a newly opened Park called the Madai Baturong Forest Reserve Centre where you can visit the Madai Waterfall. From a small stream running across the main road, the water falls into a big depression forming a waterfall of at least 150ft. you can also view the waterfall from a canopy walkway within the park.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful waterfall in Sabah and probably the most well known is the Maliau Waterfall. Located in the Maliau Basin also known as “Sabah’s Lost World,” this waterfall has several tiers and can only be reached by driving to the basin and trekking to the Basin’s campsite.

Mawah Waterfall

In Keningau and Tambunan there are a few smaller falls, the well known of which is called the Mawah Waterfall which is about 100ft. it is located at kampung Patau and this offroad destination is easily accessible. This is a popular site especially for the local school students. Other smaller waterfalls include the Sunsuran Waterfall, Moyog Waterfall and Sugud Waterfall. On your journey down to the south of Sabah into the far remote area of Sipitang, you will find in a village called Maligan another waterfall that is said to the other most beautiful waterfall in Sabah called the Purun Waterfall. Located in the Sigalong camp, its water runs down very semilar to that of the Maliau Waterfall. This waterfall is about 150ft high. Furter information: please contact Sabah tourism.

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11. Tenom Orchid Centre (Tenom)

Located about 100 km from Tambunan and Passing through the small town of Keningau. At the Tenom Agricultural Research Station at Lagud Sebran, you can take an educational trip in crop cultivation. Its Orchid Centre is ablaze with thousands of the colourful orchid blooms cascading from plants or tree trunks.

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12. Crop Museum (Tenom)

In the Crop Museum, one can stroll amidst rows and rows of exotic fruit trees. About 30 km south of Tenom are two sizable murut villages worth visiting-Kampung Mamai  and Kampong Kaparungan.

Crop Museum Tenom

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13. Rafflesia Complex (Tambunan)

Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world is a magnificently beautiful, fascinating and unique flower. It has no leaf, stem or roots of its own and yet has the biggest flower. At VJR Rafflesia, a conservation area dedicated to the conservation of Rafflesia, you can see this impressive flower, literally, from the comfort of your car seat. The nearest site where Rafflesia pricei grows is just 20 metres from the Tambunan/ Kota Kinabalu highway.

The Rafflesia conservation area covers 356 hectare of prestine highland forest within the Crocker range. From Kota Kinabalu, it is a little over an hour’s drive and from the town of Tambunan, a mere 20 minutes. The conservation centre was established in 1984 and was officially open in 1990 with the setting up of the Rafflesia Information Centre.

The Rafflesia Information Centre is a pentagonal shaped building, depicting the five petals of the Rafflesia flower. Inside, there is a Rafflesia information gallery where photographs, drawings, text information are displayed. A model showing the relief of the conservation area and the location of Rafflesia plot is also displayed. At the centre of the building stood a 20 feet tall Selangan Batu stump. At its base, lie 2 life-size flower of Rafflesia pricei. T-shirt, key-chain, postcard, mini Rafflesia replica, books, pamphlets and other souvineurs item can be bought at the counter.

Besides the Rafflesia Information Centre, the conservation area also has a picnic ground, look out pavilion and nature trails. The picnic ground is located at Mahua where a 20 feet waterfall is found. Other facilities provided at the picnic ground include a cooking area, changing room, washroom, resting hut and parking area.

For the more adventures, the centre’s nature trails lead to many interesting parts of the conservation area where visitors can see giant trees, and Rafflesia plots. An old ‘salt route’ which the centre calls Sunsuran Trail is one such trail. It is the path treaded by our otherwise self sufficient forefathers from Tambunan to get their salt supply from Kota Kinabalu. This trail lost its glory when the Tambunan/ Kota Kinabalu highway was opened in the early 70’s from the look out pavilion visitors can get a glimpse of the forest that is part of the conservation area, the Sunsuran river valley and Sunsuran Village in the distance. The pavilion is just about 5 minutes walk from the Rafflesia Information Centre. Within the jungle area, there are lots to see besides the Rafflesia flower. The forest is rich with flora and fauna-birds, insects and small mammals, giant lianas, orchids, tall seraya trees and Agathis area a common site.

The Rafflesia information: Open: 8 am- 4.30 pm (daily)

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14. River Safari (Sapulut)

The most adventurous destination is to Sapulut, 170 km away. Here, one can take river cruises to traditional longhouse communities in the interior. There are three such settlements about one hour’s boat ride away; namely, Kampung Pagalongan (Pagalongan Village), Pensiangan and Kampung Silungai (Pensiangan and Silungai Village)) with a 120-metre long longhouse. The most popular trip from Sapulut is to Batu Punggal, taking a three-hour boat trip up the Sapulut River. The Tinahas Caves near Batu Punggal houses thousands of bath and swifts. Accommodation can be at the Batu Punggal Resort or at a Murut longhouse. An evening of traditional feast can also be arranged.

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15. Crocker Range National Park 

The Park is situated in the rugged Crocker Range that divides the western coastal plains from the rest of Sabah. Lying more than 300 metres above sea level, it is spread over 139,919 hectares of densely forested terrain. The Padas River which bisects the range between Beaufort and Tenom on its journey southwest, is just one of the twelve that flow through the mountains. Passage by boat was impossible due to the boulders strewn along the swift flowing Padas Gorge. However, human ingenuity led to the construction of a railway alongside the scenic gorge. Roads crossing the range have also made the interior more accessible from the coastal areas making it possible for visitors to enjoy the serene tranquility in the rugged mountains.

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16. Flora and fauna

The vegetation is predominantly a mix of dipterocarp forests and the montane forests of the upper slopes. The bright yellow flowers of the Dillenia suffruticosa, a woody shrub usually found on infertile deforested soil are a common feature here. So too are the Tetrastigma, the wild vine, playing host to the Refflesia pricie, one of the three parasitic rafflesia species found on Sabah’s mountain ranges. The forest is home to at least five species of primates, such as orang utan, gibbons and the furry tarsier (kera hantu) with its enormous round eyes and frog-like hands and feet. Here too resides the extremely sociable long-tailed macaques. Easily identified by their prominent cheek whiskers, they are often spotted obligingly grooming each other and picking out edible insects, in the process! Their intelligent pig-tailed cousins (pigtailed macaques) are extremely adept at plucking coconuts and can contribute significantly to the labour force in coconut plantation! Bears, civet cats, marble cats, and wild pigs also roam the forest floor while hornbills, pheasants and partridges may be spotted flitting between the dense foliage. If you want more adventure, Join the hiking adventure HERE (2D1N) and get to explore the deep forests of Borneo! Lose yourself in nature as your tour takes on the challenging forest trail that surrounds Mount Kinabalu.

Presently, the crocker Range national Park is not open for public visits. Therefore, those who intend to visit must obtain written permission from the Director of Sabah Parks. This also applies to travel agents who are bringing tourists to the said park. Book a nature trip to the scenic peak of Maragang Hill Crocker Range! HERE

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 17. Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary (Sandakan)

This world-famous sanctuary enables visitors to come in close contact with the remarkable “man of the forest” (this is what the Malay name means) and witness an exciting conservation programme in action. Only 25 km. from Sandakan town, and set in 43 sq km. of beautiful virgin rainforest, the sanctuary was begun in 1964 to help once captive orang utan learn to fend for themselves in the wild.

These large red apes-man’s closest relative are astonishingly gentle and highly intelligent, gazing at visitors with almost disconcerting frankness. To avoid the spread of disease, touching the animals is not permitted inside the sanctuary. However, it is usually possible to meet and photograph a couple of the mature females, who are so fond of human company that they refuse to go back to the wild, just outside the Registration Centre. After watching orphaned orang utan being taught how to climb, visitors then go to a platform where they can watch the semi-wild orang utan come in from the further reaches of the forest for their twice-daily ration of milk and bananas.

The sanctuary also houses a couple of highly endangered Sumatran rhinos, and occasionally other animals such as elephants. There is an Information Nature Education Centre, and mini-theatre where a documentary video on the work of the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is shown. Visitors are advised to arrive about one hour in advance to register and enjoy activities prior to the feeding. It is possible to take a taxi to Sepilok, and have it wait for your return; there are also infrequent buses marked ‘Sepilok’ leaving from the station near the Central market. All tour operators offer guided tours which include transport.

Daily feeding time: 10 am, 2.30 pm
Entrance fee: RM10 per person (prices are subject to change)
Still cameras: free
Video cameras: RM10 (prices are subject to change)

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18. Gomantong Caves (Sandakan)

For centuries, the caves in this limestone outcrop, once accessible by a stream off the Kinabatangan River, have been harvested for their valuable edible birds nests. Harvesting continues to this day, although it is regulated by the Wildlife Department to avoid over-exploitation.

Two cave complexes produc different types of nests, the less valuable ‘black’ nests which consist of hardened saliva mixed with feathers, gathered in the easily accessible Simud Hitam Cave. This cave, with its roof soaring up to 90 metres high, is just a five-minutes walk from the Registration Centre and picnic area, and gives visitors a glimpse of the remarkable life within a limestone cave. Swiftlets, who make the valuable nests, and bats share the caves with thousands of insects which live in the rich guano on the floor.

The Simud Puteh Cave complex, much larger and less easily accessible than Simud Hitam Cave, is where the more valuable ‘white’ nests made of pure saliva are found; these can fetch more than US$500 per kilo. Twice a year, licensed collectors gather the nest in a dangerous operation involving the use of rattan ladders, ropes and poles. The nest are first harvested just after the birds have made them (between February and April). The birds then build new nests, which are left undisturbed until after the eggs have been laid and hatched; these nests are then gathered, some time between July and September.

The birdlife around the caves is particularly rich, with Crested Serpent Eagles, Kingfishers, Asian Fairy Bluebirds and Leafbirds often sighted. Large groups of vividly coloured butterflies are frequently found feeding on along the road leading through the forest into the caves.

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19. Lower Kinabatangan River (sandakan)

The greatest concentration of wildlife in Malaysia, and possibly all of Borneo, can be found remarkably close to Sandakan, along the lower reaches of Sabah’s biggest and longest river, the Kinabatangan. Wild orang utan, macaques, red and silver leaf monkeys, elephants, dozens of beautiful nirds including several species of hornbill, crocodiles, civet cats and otters may all be viewed in this region, although the most famous creature of all is undoubttedly the bizarre Proboscis monkey.

Thanks to their habit of socializing in the mangrove trees along the river banks late afternoon, the Proboscis monkeys are very easy to spot. Found only in Borneo, the male of this species has a large pendulous nose, fat belly, thick white tail, and a peculiar mixture of colours that makes him look as if he’s wearing grey tights, white underpants and an orange jacket. The Proboscis monkey is large, and has webbed feet which make him a strong swimmer. He is remarkably entertaining to watch as he leaps forcefully into space, seeingly without thought of where to land, crashing heavily and with maximum noise into a nearby tree.

The many dramatic and beautiful birds of the Kinabatangan region include elegant Egrets, several species of Kingfisher, the Oriental darter or Snake bird which dives underwater to catch its prey, swift and vividly coloured Bee-eaters, and Hornbills, huge ungainly birds with a heavy wingbeat and strange casque on their beaks.

It is possible to take an afternoon tour by boat across Sandakan Bay and through the salt-water swamp forest into the mouth of the Kinabatangan River, and on up to the first settlement, Kampung Abai, returning to Sandakan at night.

Visitors who prefer an indepth look at the area’s wildlife can stay overnight at Sukau, just two hours by road from Sandakan, where accommodation is provided by local tour operators. For at least two hours in the late afternoon, visitors thread through the fresh-water swamp forest to discover the Proboscis monkeys and other wildlife in the comfort of a boat. Because of lack of public transport to Sukau, the only practical way to visit is with a tour operator.

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20. Danum Valley Conservation Area (Lahad Datu)

Nestled in the interior of Sabah, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the last remaining preserves of primary lowland rainforest in Asia. The Danum Valley provides visitors with an unparalled ecological experience into the wilds and wonders of ancient tropical forests. Within its 438  sq. km. the rich diversity of animal and plant life display the complex interaction of a natural, dynamic ecosystem found only in rainforests.

The hot and humid jungle teems with a variety of towering tropical trees, lingering lianas, exotic orchids and overhanging epiphytes. There are few places on earth that can provide such an awe-inspiring spectacle of nature in its original, pristine state.

Danum valley was formely part of a 972,000 hectare forest concession assigned to the Sabah Foundation by the State Government. In May 1995, the area was declared a Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve by the Sabah Legislative Assembly, under the authority of the Sabah Forestry Department, which prohibits the issuance of timber and logging concessions.

Currently the Sabah Foundation works to make it a center for wildlife research, education and eco-tourism. The Foundation also provides infrastructural support in the form of road acces. Radio communication and manpower to assist the state authorities in conserving Danum and supporting the development of scientific and commercial establishments for research purpose which culminated in the opening of the Danum Valley field Center in 1986.

As a pocket of lowland rainforest habits designated for conservation. Danum Valley preserves the best of the natural world with many plant and animal species found only in the forests, rivers and wetlands of Borneo. Danum valley’s uniqueness lies in the dipterocarp forests covering over 90% of the area. These forest are a haven for indigenous tree species. Like the keruing Daun Besar, Selangan Jangkang, Mengaris and Kapur Biasa. Danum valley is a sanctuary to over 110 mammals, including the rare Sumatran rhino and ten primate species among which are the Orangutan and the Proboscis monkey. The valley is also home to over 275 bird species and numerous reptiles, amphibians, fishes, countless insects and other fascinating creatures.

As one of the few private protected areas in Malaysia, Danum represents not only a natural treasure, but also an opportunity for land managers and conservationists to work together to sustain the biological resources unique to tropical habitats. One of the primer research and education facilities in Southeast Asia. The Danum Valley Field Center overseas research projects, controls forest enrichment planning sites, education, training and wilderness recreation and is a meeting place for naturalists from all over the world.

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21. Activities

Among the many nature activities the Borneo Rainforest Lodge provides are:

Nature walks with knowledge guides who will point out interesting flora and fauna and lead you through undisturbed riverine and lowland dipterocarp forests

Jungle wildlife treks along an escarpment trail with panoramic views over orangutan habitats

Canopy walkway where bird watching can be carried out

Visits to an ancient Kadazan dusun burial site

Night safari drive in open jeeps in search of wildlife

Refreshing swims in rivers and waterfalls

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22. Wildlife

Undoubtedly, the wildlife in Danum makes for a memorable experience. Some of the rarest species in Borneo are found in this valley and it is here that sightings of the clouded leopard or Sumatran rhino have occurred.

For the nature lover, Danum Valley is a picture book of the exotic and beautiful. Marvel at the distinctive features of the long nosed Proboscis monkey and the membrane wings of the flying lemur; enjoy the acrobatic antics of the graceful gibbons as they swing rapidly among the trees, their whooping calls echoing through the forest at dawn as opposed to the reasonant groans of the male orangutans which filter through the nighttime. Some mammals found in this valley: orangutan, Western tarsier, Flying lemur, Leopard cat, Yellow barking deer, Mousedeer, Sambar deer, Bearded pig, Malay civet, Long-tailed macaque, Slow loris, Clouded leopard, Giant flying squirrel, Lain pygmy squirrel, Malayan sun bear, Bateng, Smooth otter, Sivered langur, Proboscis monkey, Sumatran rhino and Asian elephant.

This valley is also a bird watchers’ paradise. The most recognizable are the majestic hornbills with their long beaks, colourful plummage and loud swooshing wingbeats. Some of Sabah’s rarer residents such as the Great Argus, Bulwar’s Pheasant, the Bornean Bristlehead and the Giant Pitta have also been sighted at Danum Valley. Some of the birds found in Danum Valley: Bay owl, Bill fletcher, Crested fireback pheasant, Black-backed kingfisher, Lesser green leafbird, Bornean flycatcher, Blue-headed pitta, Crimson sunbird, Asian fairy bluebird, Grey-breasted spiderhunter, Spectacled bulbul, Buffy fish owl, Helmeted & wreathed hornbills, Busy-crested & pied hornbill, Rhinoceros hornbill.

With every layer of forest providing shelter for Danum’s birdlife, visitors must sharpen their senses and be constantly on the look out for elusive species by their calls, movements or makings. Patient scrutiny is sure to be rewarded with a decent list of sightings. Ususally the sightings will intensify during the fruiting season between July to August.

Although not everone’s favourite creatures, insects are one of the Valle’s most fascinating inhabitants. Danum supports thousands of these little known but very important inhabitants of the tropical rainforest. With only a few stinging bees and wasps, most of the insect colony are harmless and deserve the attention given to their larger counterparts. Take time to find butterflies like the Chocolate soldier, look closely for the cleverly camouflaged Spiny stick insect which appears at first glance to be a twig; and listen to the song of the cicadas as they add chirping to the natural music of Danum.

Unlike the African savannah, wildlife in the lowland rainforests of Borneo is not always easy to sight. To spot nocturnal creatures like the leopard cat or clouded leopard who only wake and hunt for food in the dark, one must be prepared to forego sleep and spend many hours waiting and watching patiently.

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23. Jungle trails

Standing under the green cover of the rainforest while being encircled by the immense diversity of plants, one cannot help but marvel at the spectacle which took nature centures to complete. A seemingly limitless bounty of orchids, ferns, fruit trees, lichens and lianas are unveiled as jungle trails through danum take you into the heart of the natural world. With over 50 km. of cool hiking trails through the dipterocarp forest and riverine habitats, a trip into the forests become a new learning experience as knowledgeable guides point out things easily missed by untrained eyes. Take particular note that no visitor is allowed to trek or jungle walk without being accompanied by aguide for their own safety. The many viewing platforms perched on high plateaus overlook panoramic vistas and observation decks attached to mighty tropical timbers allow a visitor closer acces into the forest canopy.

Some of the special activities at Danum are the canopy walkway and night drivers in search of wildlife in open jeeps equipped with spotlights to flush the nocturnal dwellers from the undergrowth. The 27 meter high L-shaped canopy walkaway anchored by sturdy Mengaris and majau trees gives visitors a bird’s eye view of the forest and is a perfect vantage point for bird watching.

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24. Getting to Danum Valley

Danum Valley is located 80 km. inland from Lahad Datu on Sabah’s east coast. The journey takes approximately 2 hours with the first 15 km. being the main Lahad Datu-Tawau road. The rest of the ride is on an unsealed but well maintained private logging road. While it is possible to take your own transport into the Valley, permits will have to be obtained beforehand. It is thus better to avail yourselves of the pick-up service provided by Borneo Nature Tours Sdn. Bhd. From Lahad Datu airport. Bordered by the Segama and Danum Rivers, Danum Valley is a rugged terrain of gently sloping inclines with elevation less than 70 meters in most places. Descending into level riverine habitats. Three summit in the interior of Danum, the highest reaching 1,093 meters, give way to a rolling plateau on the western side and form the headwaters of the Segama River which traverses through a continuous series of gorges, of which only a couple are accessible by foot.

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25. Accommodation

The Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL) is the only accommodation facility in Danum. Located beside the lovely Danum River, the lodge offers 23 bungalows which can accommodate up to 60 persons. The lodge offers fully nature walks on the extensive trail syatem, night drivers and walks as well as day visits to Danum Valley Field Center, a research, training and rehabilitation center Made from river stone and core logs, the chalets are designed along the lines of traditional Kadazandusun dwellings and linked together by walkways. The lodge is open 12 months a year. A three-day, two-night stay is encouraged. Full board accommodation package rates start from RM350 per person. There is also a campbed facility (tented camp) seven km. from the lodge where visitors can spend the night under the watchful protection of field guide. Packages start at RM250 per person.

Apart from the nature walks, trekking and bird watching, the lodge also provides the services of guides and arranges for angling trips, river rafting, extended night drivers and many other activities. Contact Borneo Nature Tours Sdn. Bhd. For further information: (Tel) 089-880 207/ 089-880 206 (Fax) 089-885 051 (e-mail)

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26. Practical Tips

Visitors are advised to bring along light cotton tops, long pants and sturdy walking or hiking shoes and a container of drinking water to prevent dehydration their walks. There are nominal charges imposed on visitors to Danum Valley. Entrance permit fees range from RM4 per day to RM30 for a residential visit. A fee is also levied for the use of cameras and video cameras. Collections go to a trust fund for conservation activities. Visitors are reminded not to hurt, frighten or disturb any animal or bird: or attempt to smuggle any forest inhabitant out of the Valley. There is a penalty for defacing, destroying or haming the flora and fauna in Danum.

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27. Tawau Hills Park

The lush forests of the Tawau Hills in the east coast of Sabah serves as an important water catchment area for Tawau and Semporna. The area was gazetted as a National Park to protect the natural environment with its unique flora and fauna and to ensure an uninterrupted water supply for the region. Rugged volcanic terrain cover the natural landscape, in sharp contrast to the neatly cultivated plantations of oil palm, cocoa and rubber on the flat coastal plains. It covers an area of 27,972 hectares.

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28. Flora and fauna

Lush dipterocarp forest vegetation and lianas cover the lower regions giving way to thick damp mossy forests as the altitude gets higher and temperature get cooler. The variety of plant life found within the park include Agathis, Mountain ru, Tree ferns, different species of orchids and begonia. A particularly interesting species is the Mengaris tree whose smooth grey trunk makes it particularly difficult to climb. Wild bees protect their precious store of honey from the voracious honey bears, by making their honeycombs high up these trees. Macaques, creamy white leaf monkeys, giant tree squirrels, civet cats and leopard cats inhabit the park’s dense primary forests. Borneo’s largest wild cat-the clouded leopard, through rarely seen is not uncommon. It preys on smaller mammals such as rats and even bigger wild pigs. Other inhabitants of the harmless kind include hornbills and pheasants and the slow-moving forest tortoise.

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29. Highest tropical rainforest tree in the world

In 2006, American scientist Dr Roman Dial and two friends climbed up a 'Seraya Kuning Siput' (Shorea faquetiana) in Taman Bukit Tawau near here. The trio risked life and limb in order to find out the accurate measurement of this tree, a tropical rainforest plant, located in the forest reserve of some 28,000 hectares. After placing the end of the measuring tape at the tip of the highest point on the tree, Dr Dial, a professor in Biologi and Mathematic of Alaska Pacific University, finally recorded the tree's height at 88.32 meters. That measurement made the Seraya Kuning Siput in Tawau Hills Park the highest tropical rainforest tree in the world.

After recording the tree's height, Dr Dial and his team then moved on to look for trees of other species in the park. In two square km there, they found seven more that measured more than 80 meters in height. The discovery by Dr Dial and his team was recorded in the National Geographic magazine, July 2006 edition.

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30. Planning an itinerary

Cool strams meandering through a lush tropical forest setting and waterfalls cascading excitingly into frothing rocky pools down below, make it an ideal location for picnics and refreshing dips-away from the stress and strains of everyday life. There are also hotsprings-Mother Nature’s very own spa, where you can ease your tired muscles and weary bones while luxuriant in the the therapeutic warmth of the ‘geotermal’ pool.

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